Utica Ford II girls soccer outlasts Anchor Bay to win regional title

By: Jason Carmel Davis, | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 8, 2017

UTICA — As a freshman in 2014, Utica Ford II’s Cecilia Steinwascher didn’t see the field much as the team marched to its first state semifinal appearance since 1988.

Now a senior captain, Steinwascher has led the Falcons back to the state semis, as she scored both her team’s goals in a 2-1 win over Anchor Bay High in a June 8 Division 1 regional final.

“Obviously it’s been a lot different since then,” Steinwascher said after the regional final triumph. “It’s pretty awesome to be able to play in a big game like this. To help my team get a big win is huge.”

Ford (15-1-4) advances to take on either Walled Lake Northern or Grand Blanc High in a state semifinal set for 7 p.m. June 14 at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek. The D-1 state title game is at 4 p.m. June 17 at Williamston High.

No Macomb County girls soccer team has ever won a state title. Utica Eisenhower finished as state runner-up in 2009 and 2014.

Steinwascher got the scoring started with a goal off a corner kick from senior Chloe Chatzis with 29:44 left in the first half. The score came on the third chance for the Falcons in the early going. Much of the first half was played in Anchor Bay territory.

“On those plays, they’re designed for two of us to get a shot and everyone else is a decoy,” Steinwascher said. “Chloe did a great job of getting me the ball, and I just knocked it in.”

The Tars, looking for their first state semifinal trip, tied the game at 1-1 with 36:45 left on a goal by sophomore Isabella Hunter.

Ford had a quick response, as Steinwascher with 35:38 left scored off a scrum deep in the Anchor Bay end to give her team a 2-1 lead.

“We were deep in Anchor Bay’s net and three of us surrounded the ball,” Steinwascher said. "(Falcons sophomore Nicole Fiantaco) tipped it, and I slid in and knocked it in.”

Falcons coach Teri Steinwascher, Cecilia’s mother, said it felt good for her team to respond so quickly after Anchor Bay tied the game. Teri Steinwascher has coached the program’s last two state semifinalists.

“I said it would be a one-goal game,” Teri Steinwascher said. “We knew we’d get one or two chances, so we knew we had to capitalize on them.  We put the pressure on them for most of the game, but they played the game in our end the last 20 minutes.”

Tars coach Kevin Grammens said he couldn’t see much on the last goal. He said his sophomore goalkeeper, Ally Gaunt, is always very level headed and wouldn’t have let the ball go in had she touched it.

“But credit Ford for getting the ball into the back of the net,” Grammens said. “That goal was obviously the difference in the game. We score, then they come right back and score, but we still think we’re going to go down and score again. We had some chances.”

The Falcons and Tars tied twice in the regular season. Both teams play in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

Teri Steinwascher credits her players’ work ethic for the team’s success.

“It’s their dedication and hard work. It’s all them,” Teri Steinwascher said.